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WASHINGTON, PA, May 15, 2020 -- After 11 days of silence, PA Gov. Tom Wolf responded to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) on when it could resume harness racing in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for horsemen, his response was not what we wanted to hear: "As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc). I commend the Commission's efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening." To read Gov. Wolf's full letter to the PHRC, visit The Meadows Stadardbred Owners Association (MSOA) has responded to Gov. Wolf with the open letter below: Dear Gov. Wolf: In your letter to PHRC, you lump racing with other large venues, such as casinos and theaters. The reality is that horse racing occurs outdoors and can easily follow CDC guidelines; because our trainer/drivers and caretakers must exercise, feed and care for their horses every day, we're already on the backside, and we're already following CDC safety guidelines. And those guidelines are working. We've had no COVID-19 positives -- not a single one -- in our paddock and backside areas. Moreover, unlike other sports, horse racing can be conducted without spectators. Fans can watch the races and wager from a variety of platforms, including phone and computer. Since racing at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino was shut down on March 16, horsemen and horsewomen have been without income. Yet because horses continue to need food, bedding, exercise and veterinary care, expenses have continued. While other small businesses can cut costs and furlough staff, racing stables cannot do the same. Costs for upkeep of a single Standardbred can reach $2,500 per month -- and there has been no income to offset this. Many of us have applied for unemployment compensation and government loans; some have yet to hear back or receive any funding to help us through this unprecedented time. Consider the plight of D&G Stables, operated by Dean and Glenda Collins at the Meadows. Of the nine horses in its stable, D&G owns seven outright, meaning there are no outside owners to help them meet their significant monthly bills. Right now, this situation is altogether typical. Norm Parker, who trains 30 horses at the Meadows, puts it this way: "If we have a reopening date we could shoot for. our horses will be ready to race and start making money again. We are hoping to reach the 'green' phase and start earning a living again. We'll be able to pay our vendors. pay for hay and feed, and it will make everyone feel a little bit better." Currently, 90 percent of the people needed to resume live racing at The Meadows are already reporting to the backside and working every day. Trainer/drivers are here. Caretakers are here. Track and facilities maintanence staff are here. Security personnel are here. Resumption of racing would require about 20 additional people -- and these would be at scattered sites. State veterinarians and other PHRC personnel would be on the backside, but state judges would be at their office in the main casino building. The TV production crew would be in that bulding or outdoors while pari-mutuel clerks -- to handle phone wagers -- would work in a completely separate facility. Thus, the population on the backside, where stringent CDC measures already are in place, would be increased by only a few people. In light of all this, the MSOA respectfully requests that you reconsider your timeline and authorize immediate resumption of live racing, without spectators, at The Meadows. Indeed, our neighboring state of Ohio has done just that, announcing that live racing in Ohio can resume on May 22. Similarly, Indiana and Ontario have announced that live racing at their tracks will resume in June. If you authorize the reopening of racing at The Meadows now, you will immeasurably aid our horsemen and horsewomen, provide a much-needed form of entertainment for Pennsylvanians and, since the Commonwealth receives a commission on every wager, restore a key revenue stream to the state. And you'll accomplish this without adversely affecting public health and safety. Respectfully, Richard G. Gillock, President Meadows Standardbred Owners Association The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonproft oganization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The horse racing community is urging Governor Tom Wolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Many horse trainers and owners said they are struggling to afford care as the shutdown of racing stretches into week eight. “Right now, I would be very busy probably racing four to five days a week,” said Neal Ehrhart, of Lititz, Lancaster County. Ehrhart has been a horse trainer for 45 years. He and his wife Ginny own 12 Standardbred horses that they train for harness racing. Though the industry shutdown has halted their revenue, the couple still has to care for and feed their athletic animals. Rachel Yonkunas   ✔@RachelYonkunas     As the shutdown of harness racing stretches into week 8, horse trainers and owners are urging @GovernorTomWolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Despite having no income, the Ehrharts still have 12 massive athletes to care for and feed. TONIGHT at 10:00 on @fox43   “We earn nearly 100% of our income from racing. We depend upon the purses that we win when we race,” explained Ehrhart. “That’s how we make our livelihood. That’s how we feed our family.” Ehrhart said caring for a dozen Standardbreds costs nearly $30,000 a month. They have not received any financial help, including unemployment. This mom-and-pop stable feels left in the dust. “We’ve applied for just about everything that’s out there, both federally and statewide, and have gotten zip, nothing, nada,” stated Ehrhart. Some states, like Florida and California, have allowed tracks to continue holding horse races, but without spectators present. The State Horse Racing Commission is urging Governor Wolf to follow suit. Governor Wolf has previously said he would consider the option, but the Governor’s Office did not provide details to FOX43. “That’s what’s scary,” Ehrhart added. “I don’t know what [date] we could go to because we can’t just say ‘well we’re going to show up at the track and go race.’ We have to have the OK from the governor to do that.” Until then, the work never stops. The Ehrharts continue to train their massive athletes that are champing at the bit to get back in the race. “It’s not like you can turn it off. You have to take care of these horses daily,” said Ehrhart. “When the floodgates open, you have to be ready to go and race.” The Wolf Administration has created a list of general guidance for all industries in each phase of reopening. You can find that information here.   by Rachel Yonkunas   Reprinted with permission FOX43

The Meadows, as all racetracks in Pennsylvania, has been dark since mid-March due to the state’s COVID-19 shutdown order. How quickly could horses and horsemen resume harness racing once the track is permitted to reopen – with or without spectators? Says The Meadows-based horseman Gary Johnston: “My horses are ready to drop in the box tomorrow.” Johnston’s schedule for a return to racing is only slightly optimistic, and that’s the advantage harness racing has over other sports whose seasons have been suspended. While those other athletes may need time to work themselves into shape, Standardbreds have continued to work right through the COVID-19 lockdown, although they haven’t been asked for peak performances. Moreover, other sports trying to resume may have rescheduling headaches. While The Meadows and other tracks might need to reschedule some stakes races, for the most part, they can pick up where they left off. And since The Meadows Casino & Racetrack live-streams its races on its Website, fans would have instant access. The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is exploring possibilities for expanding that access, including partnership with a broadcast TV station. For Standardbred owners, trainers and their staff and drivers, the lockdown has been tough financially – expenses have continued, revenue hasn’t. The state also has suffered financially, losing its share of commissions on handle, a considerable sum over the course of a year. Johnston, who trains his 12 horses at the Butler County Fairgrounds about 60 miles north of The Meadows, relies on family for help, so he hasn’t had to lay off anyone. He gave his owners a discount on their bills to encourage them to keep their horses in training. And he and fellow Butler County trainers got a break themselves when the Butler Fair Board reduced stall rental fees. “It was small, but it helps,” he says. Johnston has been giving his horses what he calls “doubleheaders” – back-to-back training trips in jog carts so they stay sharp without overdoing it. “They see the field, the exerciser and the track,” Johnston says. “They don’t miss a day. That’s true of everybody at the fairgrounds. We have to get faster miles into them. If they say we can race at the end of May, we’ll ship down to The Meadows and go those fast miles.” Much the same is happening at The Meadows where, with financial support from MSOA, the track has kept its backside open for the resident equine population. Trainer Dirk Simpson has taken advantage of the opportunity to give his 27 horses the same doubleheaders Johnston’s are logging. “They do their normal jogging, their doubleheaders and after that pasture time, weather permitting,” Simpson says. “We get them out every day. No fast miles, although I’ve seen some do it.” Simpson hasn’t laid off any staff, although he’s not hiring as many gig workers to help with jogging. He offered owners a “slight break” on their training fees. Still, he lost three horses when their owners opted to turn them out and avoid training bills entirely. Even if tracks in other states reopen before The Meadows does, Simpson intends to keep his horses right where they are. “If you give us 10 days, we would have time for a couple fast works,” he says. “I think my barn would be competitive off that.” By Celeste Van Kirk Reprinted with permission of The Observer-Reporter

Harness Racing was halted about two weeks ago at The Meadows, shut down because of social-distancing measures and the threat of coronavirus. But horses need to exercise, and it takes humans to train them and care for them. That continues at The Meadows and all over the country. The lack of competitive racing also threatens stakes racing and the big-money purses that go with it. The Meadows is no exception. While stakes racing isn’t scheduled until the Pennsylvania Sire Stake series starts May 2 at the North Strabane Township track, other events such as the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old pacing fillies (May 22) and for pacing colts (June 20) also are in question. The Adios eliminations are scheduled for July 25 with the final set for Aug. 1. Until further notice, racing has been limited to one harness track in the country, Cal-Expo in Sacramento, Calif. The California Horse Racing Board approved the track to begin racing last Friday. Racing will be held there Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 22. The Meadows’ return to racing might be determined by the reopening of the casino and return to work by state employees because race judges are employees of the state. Races cannot be contested without judges. For now, keeping horses active and their handlers healthy is a main objective. “Most days, (horses) are coming out and exercising,” said Ron Burke, the top trainer in the world. “We’ve turned some out, so they are put in paddocks. But there’s not enough paddocks for all the horses. “The horses have to come out and either jog lightly or some days they go closer to race speed. So, when races pick up, they are fit and ready to go. Basically, with a barn bigger like ours, we’re able to simulate races.” Jim King, Jr., one of the top trainers in the country, has his horses at his farm in Delaware. He has a number of stakes-eligible horses. He’s attempting to strike a balance. “It kind of changes every day,” said King. “We don’t know what is going on ourselves. There is no change in what we do with the horses. Jim King, Jr. “I had a half-dozen ready to qualify. In fact, I dropped them into qualifiers, but they didn’t draw in. They were that close. A couple more were a few weeks away. I had to finish getting them ready and once they are ready, I’ll back off. My other horses will keep going with an abbreviated schedule. They’re jogging, not as far as usual and only training once a week.” Dirk Simpson, who owns a significant stable of horses at The Meadows, said horsemen have been through racing lulls in the past, pointing to planned weeks off and a layoff in 2018 because of a deadly virus. Racing at The Meadows was shut down for more than one month early in 2018 because the virus was contracted by a handful of horses in late January. “The first week, it’s just kind of normal business,” Simpson said. “We’ve been down before. You think it’s OK and things are going to be the normal. We’ve survived it before. “Now, we’re into two weeks and there is no sign of racing. I’m thinking, my own personal point of view is that at some point the state will open it back up. We can operate with a small group of people. The governor will eventually allow (state employees) to go back to work. Dirk Simpson “I’m trying to be optimistic. Two years ago, we were shut down a month and my barn was hit hard. We just weathered through it. You get 60 days; it’s a totally different thing to tackle. If this goes longer than three weeks, it would be a hardship – first the smaller stables and then the larger stables. It’s scary right now. I’m staying as positive as I can.” Neither Burke, King nor Simpson have laid off any workers. None has reported anyone who has become ill with the virus. The entire harness racing industry is looking forward to getting back on the track. “We need the end date,” Burke said. “I don’t think we’re anywhere near finding the end date. “We’re trying to keep people from congregating and they’re good at it. It’s not like we have cubicles we’re sitting in to watch our horses. Once on the track, those horses keep you separate.” Burke is stressing to employees to maintain social distancing, washing their hands and staying healthy. “We need to stay healthy because the horses need us to take care of them,” he said. King has 3-year-old filly pacer, Lyons Sentinel, who’s coming out party came at The Meadows, to be concerned with. Lyons Sentinel won nearly $900,000 as a 2-year-old. “She was a little behind most of them (his other horses) anyway,” King said. “She’s training but nowhere near. … She’s six weeks from qualifying anywhere. I have to keep the horses moving, not race read but moving enough so I can have them race-ready in 10 days.” Burke thinks the harness racing industry could return faster to close to normal operations than other industries. “It could be done under any system they want, 40 to 50 people,” Burke said. “Horses have to exercise anyhow. There are ways. It would take some adjustments. The way we prepare, you’d have to cut the number (of people) and change the way you go to the paddock. You could put the horses together and we could separate people. “We should be able to get back about the quickest of any industry. We don’t need interaction. People can bet from their phone and on computers. I have a little hope for whatever social-distancing requirements there are, we can manage it.” Reprinted with permission of The Observer-Reporter

WILKES-BARRE PA - Tyler Buter guided five winners during the Wednesday morning harness racing qualifying session at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, while Mark MacDonald, just a week into his comeback since his injuries last summer, showed he is back in form with three victories. MacDonald handled the fastest winner of the session, the Mach Three gelding Highrthananeagle A. The six-year-old had not raced since November and was making his U.S. debut, but the Rob Harmon trainee made two moves, including going first-over, to win in 1:55.1 for the ownership of Harmon Racing Stable LLC, Lightning 5 Racing Stable, and Joel Kahan. The Cantab Hall gelding Macmorris Hanover, an earner of $120,000 at three last year in his first season at the races, showed he may be a trotter to reckon with in the higher classes as Buter put him on the lead and won by over five lengths in 1:56.1 in his 2020 bow. Bob Baggitt Jr. conditions the promising horse for the ownership of Ben Mudry, Douglas Millard, Timothy Murray, and Howard Taylor.   PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 24, 2020 -- Icanflylikeanangel outdueled Perlucky for the early lead, then blunted his harness racing rival's late charge to capture Monday's $20,000 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows. The pocket-sitting Perlucky moved wide for the stretch drive and appeared well positioned to brush past Icanflylikeanangel. But the 6-year-old Archangel-Fox Valley London gelding would have none of it, digging deep to hold off Perlucky by 3/4 lengths in 1:54.3 for Mike Wilder. Final Breath earned show. Randy Bendis trains Icanflylikeanangel, who lifted his lifetime bankroll to $337,736, and owns with Pollack Racing LLC. Tony Hall piloted four winners on the 13-race card while Dave Palone and Wilder each fashioned a triple. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $7,797.41 carryover in the final-race Super Hi 5; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6); a $953.03 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA – The Game Of Claims Series for pacers base-tagged at $10,000 and $7500 conducted their third and final preliminaries during the Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, giving indications of form ahead of their $20,000 and $15,000 Championships in seven days’ time. The Rocknroll Hanover gelding Charger Blue Chip established himself as most likely to sit on the Championship throne with a 1:54.4 victory in Sunday’s single $10,000 division for the higher-priced series horses. Eric Goodell quarter-moved with the Marc Mosher trainee, who notched his second GOC victory for owners Edward and James Hall Jr. "Charger" held off the late kick of favored Grandpa Don, the second prelim winner who was reclaimed by the Marshall barn ahead of the Championship event. The unofficial top nine pointwinners going to this $20,000 Championship are Charger Blue Chip, Grandpa Don, (tie) Midnight Dylan N and Sharknado, (tie) Carmens Best and Corner Con Artist, Achilles Blue Chip, Master The View, and Mr Carrotts. There were two $7500 divisions for the other Game Of Claims group battling for Championship spots, both producing mild upsets. The Art Major gelding Autotune Hanover punched his ticket to the finale with a 1:55 triumph for driver Tyler Buter, trainer Robert Lounsbury, and owner Rick Howles, while in the second cut the Bettor’s Delight gelding Mystery Island won in identical time for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer Darren Taneyhill, and owner Chelsey Wibert. Always B Magic and Speedling, both double winners before not competing in the last prelim, tied as the unofficial points leaders for this group, with the next seven lined up behind them in the pursuit of the throne in the $15,000 final are Mystery Island, Some Gold, (tie) Dafinity and Naked City, Smart Talker, Autotune Hanover, and Tough Mudder. Claiming activity, largely generated by the series: Sunday, six for $77,250; for the week, fifteen for $287,250; and for the six-day meet, sixty-two for $1,100,150. Jim Morrill Jr. had four wins Sunday to lead the drivers colony for the night.   PHHA / Pocono

This is an open letter to all of our incumbent legislators on both sides of the aisle, including independents. I read an article this morning that indicated that our governor’s new budget might divert monies from the harness racing “industry” to our schools. This money comes from revenues from the slot machines in our casinos. Since 2004 (when this legislation was enacted), we have been hearing from our campaigning legislators that the initial law was to provide money to eliminate the school taxes. Hear this legislators, I still pay school taxes and they continue to go up not down. In fact, some school districts new budgets will be exceeding the state mandated percentage increases. To summarize: let’s give it to the horses and the hell with the schools. Second, our previous governor, Tom Corbett enacted a 29-cent increase in gasoline tax that would be spread over four years. This money would be earmarked for road and bridge repairs throughout Pennsylvania. However, a number of our communities decided that they would do away with their police force and utilize the State Police. To cover this additional cost for patrols, the money was found in the gasoline tax to pay for this State Police coverage. So now we have a growing number of communities on the state dole. As this continues our highways and bridges remain some of the worst in the nation. I must give credit where credit is due. Our legislators had great teachers – the federal legislators. They diverted so much money from the Social Security fund that they now claim its going broke. In both of the items cited above, we, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, have been lied to continuously. Don’t believe me; just wait until the political campaigns (lies) start this primary season. I have but one question. Are these two scenarios grounds for removal from office? By Emory Guffrovich Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

PLAINS TWP. – While Gov. Tom Wolf was in Taylor on Thursday pitching his 2020 budget and the $204 million Nellie Bly Scholarship Program it would create, Pete Peterson stood in Pacers Clubhouse at Mohegan Sun Pocono and questioned the wisdom of how Wolf would fund the scholarship. Wolf’s plan would divert money from the Race Horse Development Trust Fund, which receives funding from Pennsylvania slots revenue, to pay for the scholarship program. Peterson said diverting those funds would be fatal for the horse and harness racing industry. “It would effectively end the harness racing industry as we know it,” said Peterson, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition — an organization representing the six Thoroughbred and Standard-bred horsemen and breeder associations in the state. “It basically takes away all the money that exists for purses and for breeders incentives,” he said. “That’s the lifeblood of the industry.” Mohegan Sun Pocono, which has featured live harness racing for 55 years, will host 133 nights of live racing this year. Wolf, though, believes the money could be better spent. “Let’s bet on our kids instead of bankrolling race horse owners and ensure the viability of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education,” Wolf told those gathered at Riverside High School on Thursday. However, Peterson cautioned that it is more than just the harness and horse racing industry that would be affected. “The industry as a whole has a much broader impact than most people realize,” Peterson said. “They take a look at a track, and they say that’s who the industry employs. “Well, there are thousands of breeders and the people that work for them. And then you have on top of that a range of people from trainers to jockeys to drivers …” Others professions that benefit from the horse racing industry, according to Peterson include, blacksmiths, veterinarians, exercise riders, grooms, equine dentists, equine therapists, jockey agents, hot walkers, nutritionists, bloodstock agents and more. Peterson said that harness and horse racing contribute about 20,000 jobs to the state and has an overall economic impact of $1.6 billion. In addition, Peterson fears the impact taking the funds away from racing will have on the state’s farmers. “It’s going to have a much broader impact on the agriculture economy in the state than I think most people realize,” he said. Noting that the racing industry is typically the top-level buyer for hay, Peterson said the governor’s diverting of funds comes at a bad time for farmers. “Last year, Pennsylvania saw a 20 percent increase in farm bankruptcies,” he said. “And a lot of them are struggling financially, and then to take away their largest customer. “It’s going to really hurt them.” By Joe Soprano Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 1, 2019 -- The Super Hi-5 jackpot at The Meadows continues to climb. After yet another carryover, Monday's jackpot stands at $62,961.50. The Meadows offers the Super Hi-5 on the final race of each live program. First post for Monday's 13-race card is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 26, 2019 -- Amelias Courage A stalked the leader from the pocket, then blew by in the Lightning Lane to capture Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Harness Racing Pace at The Meadows. Amelia's Courage A was making her fifth domestic start since owner Thomas Mattingly and trainer Richard Perfido imported her from Australia, and she showed just how well she's adjusted. When Dan Rawlings pointed her inside, the 5-year-old daughter of Courage Under Fire-American Dreamer shot past Touchamatic and scored in a career-best 1:51.3. Dark Force rallied for second, beaten a neck, while McDazzle finished third. With the win, Amelia's Courage A boasts a lifetime bankroll of $122,540. Mike Wilder collected four victories on the 13-race card -- including a pair for trainer Jason Robinson -- giving him eight over the past two programs. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the card features a $55,771.46 carryover in the final-race Super Hi 5. First post for the 13-race program is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak,  for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 6, 2019 -- Casey T pulled off a 7-1 upset when she used the Lightning Lane to outkick Kenziesky Hanover and capture Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, an $11,500 Filly & Mare Conditioned Trot. Casey T and Dan Rawlings grabbed the early lead but released Kenziesky Hanover to take advantage of the pocket trip. Casey T was strongest in the lane, downing the rallying Rose Run Reanna by 1/2 length in a career-best 1:55.4. Kenziesky Hanover saved show. Tyler Stillings trains Casey T, a 6-year-old daughter of Madison River-Gia who boosted her career bankroll to $157,629, for Rags To Riches Of PA. Stillings and Rags To Riches teamed for three victories on the 13-race card while Stillings added to his big day with a driving win. In Wednesday's subfeature, an $11,200 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace, Blue Ivy turned in a sparkling performance for owner Renee Bercury and trainer Bill Bercury, winning in a swift 1:51.3. Blue Ivy was hammered down to 1-9 in the wagering and responded with a 7-1/4-length victory. Aaron Merriman piloted the 3-year-old filly, who now boasts $172,335 in lifetime earnings. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the program features a $24,811.20 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

CHESTER PA - The betting favorites did not let the crowd down during the two $16,000 harness racing features on the Wednesday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia. First up was the contest for pacing males, and the crowd naturally went to the American Ideal sophomore colt Artie's Ideal, who had finished third, beaten only a neck, in his Little Brown Jug elimination, and was second in the New York Sire Stakes final to Hickfromfrenchlick. And Artie's Ideal did not disappoint from the pole, going coast-to-coast in 1:52.2 with a 1¾ length margin over Smackitwithahammer at the wire. The father/son team of driver Marcus and trainer Erv Miller saw the three-year-old boost his bankroll to $345,078 lifetime for Bay Pond Racing Stable. In the trotting section, the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Yankees Beast was sent off at the public's choice off of several good races at this level, although the occasional break made their support a bit lighter. But Yankees Beast was not a beast but a gentleman on this day, coming a long way uncovered and still grinding down the game pacesetting Trixar, who himself had been hung almost 3/8 to make the top, by a length in 1:56.2. Tim Tetrick drove the winner for trainer Anette Lorentzon and owner Anna Kristina Lorentzon. Drivers Tetrick and Dexter Dunn were joined by trainer Mark Harder in having thee visits to Victory Lane on the Wednesday card.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE PA - George Napolitano Jr., not long removed from achieving his 10,000th career driving victory, posted another milestone at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on the Monday twilight harness racing card, guiding Follow Your Heart to a 1:53.3 initial pari-mutuel victory to notch his 5000th lifetime driving success over the red 5/8-mile oval in northeast Pennsylvania. Just as he did with Motown N 16 days ago to get his overall win #10,000, Napolitano moved early for the lead with the favored Follow Your Heart, and the Rock N Roll Heaven freshman gelding kept control from there, coming home in :55.3 while lowering his mark over 4 seconds. The freshman is trained by Aaron Lambert, who is also co-owner with Ron Coyne Stables Inc., Blair Corbeil, and David Linker. Follow Your Heart trained by Aaron Lambert (in photo) Napolitano is well on his way to his 13th championship in the driving win category at the Pocono oval. In North American terms, Napolitano became the 18th driver to reach five figures in sulky wins, and he ranks 11th among active drivers. George also is sitting in third place among all North American drivers in 2019.     PHHA / Pocono

WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 28, 2019 -- When You Dance moved relentlessly first over, wore down the leader late and captured Monday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $13,500 Conditioned Pace. When You Dance was third down the backside when Jim Pantaleano sent him after Go West Go Fast, who was racing off a layoff but dueled evenly with the challenger until-mid stretch. When You Dance edged away and held off the Lightning Lane charge of Enoch by 1/2 length in 1:51.3. Go West Go Fast saved show. Christen Pantaleano owns and trains When You Dance, a 4-year-old Mach Three-Armbro Dancer gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $163,047. Jim Pantaleano collected four wins on the 12-race card while Dave Palone and trainer Ron Burke each enjoyed a triple. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features an $11,525.29 carryover in the final-race Super-Hi 5. First post is 1:05 PM.   By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WILKES-BARRE PA - Tight Lines blew away a talented harness racing field in the $21,500 featured trot Sunday evening at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, recording a 1:54.1 victory with a :56.3 back half despite 50o temperatures and a sloppy surface. Trainer/driver Jeff Gregory was behind the innermost of the leavers and put foes in behind him to a :27.3 quarter, then got a :30 breather in the second stanza. From there the sprint was on, and the altered son of Yankee Glide was in complete control in the latter stages, winning by 4½ lengths over pocketsitter Joey Bats. Tight Lines has now won a third of his eighteen seasonal starts and has amassed $522,076 lifetime for Jeff Gregory Inc., Jesmeral Stable, and William Richardson. There was a trio of $17,000 co-features for younger horses trying to earn their way up the condition ladder. In the single trotting event, the Cantab Hall sophomore gelding Nextroundsonme got to the half in slow time even over the off going while on the lead, then stepped home in :57.1 to complete a 1:57.4 victory, defeating pocketsitting Conman Crown by 1½ lengths. George Napolitano Jr. drove the victorious three-year-old for trainer Jenny Melander and Belmar Racing And Breeding LLC. The first of the pacing co-features was for females, and Blue Ivy proved worthy of heavy mutuel backing with an easy 2½ length victory over two-holer Coral Bella in 1:53.1, coming her last half in :56.1 and her last quarter in :28 after moving to the lead past the quarter. The winner is a three-year-old Captaintreacherous miss who was driven by Tyler Buter for trainer Chris Oakes and the partnership of Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, and Chuck Pompey. In the division for male pacers, the sophomore Somebeachsomewhere gelding Quatrain Blue Chip moved to the lead in front of the stands, opened up a big lead with a :27.3 third quarter in the muck, and came home comfortably for a 1:53 triumph, 2¼ lengths to the good of JK Musicman. Trainer Chris Oakes completed a sweep of the pacing co-features with the three-year-old, who won a division of the Simpson Stakes at Philly three starts back, for owners Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay; the victory completed a driving triple for George Napolitano Jr., top among the sulkysitters on the night.   PHHA / Pocono

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